4 Reasons Telemedicine is the Future of Healthcare

Telemedicine is Convenient for Patients

Originally developed to treat patients in remote locations, telemedicine is growing exponentially as it provides more efficient medical care. How much is this field of healthcare growing? PwC reports that analysts expect the global market for telemedicine to exceed $30 billion by 2020.

With more than half of consumers open to virtual healthcare visits, there are many advantages of telemedicine. Here are five of the most significant reasons why telemedicine is the future of healthcare.

1. Convenience for Patients

A visit to the doctor often means taking at least half a day off work and pulling children out of school. However, visiting a website and communicating with a physician via video offers an enormous increase in convenience.

Telemedicine obviously reduces travel time to and wait time in the doctor’s office. This convenience could also allow more people to keep up regular doctor appointments. Everything from virtual visits with general physicians to consultations with specialists stationed around the globe can be conveniently provided for patients.

2. Less Exposure to Contagious Patients

Sitting in a crowded doctor’s office puts patients at a higher risk of contracting a variety of illnesses. According to Health IT Outcomes, telemedicine can help contain epidemics such as influenza by treating patients through virtual visits. Both patients and healthcare providers benefit.

Reducing the spread of contagious illnesses has the opportunity of substantial economic impact on a community during an outbreak. Forms of telemedicine prove especially attractive to schools and businesses. Virtual medicine could allow an employee to visit a doctor while still sick at home. This keeps the employee out of a waiting room and public space where they could spread the illness to others.

3. Better Patient Care

Being able to examine and communicate with patients online enables medical providers to work together, providing higher levels of patient care. Hospitals & Health Networks points out that handoffs during transitional care can run much more smoothly with the use of virtual medicine.

For example, video conferencing between a patient, the general practitioner, and a specialist can take place with all three individuals communicating at once. This smooth transition of continuous care makes it more likely that the patient will follow through and see the specialist, and ultimately provides higher quality patient care.

Research also shows that patients are more relaxed, open, and honest when teleconsulting from home. Dr. Ray Dorsey, director of the movement disorders division and neurology telemedicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, discussed recent advancements in telemedicine. In the familiar surroundings of their own home, one Dorsey’s patient wrote:

“I like the interaction being personal despite the 3,000-mile distance. It felt somehow protected by the veil of technology, which enabled the exchange to be more honest.”

4. Increased Revenue

The cost effectiveness of being able to see and communicate with patients digitally is substantial. The University of Arizona reports that hospital readmissions and unnecessary emergency room visits are two of the primary reasons healthcare costs are so high. Telemedicine can reduce ER trips and readmissions by making healthcare more accessible.

Virtual appointments can also reduce the number of cancellations and no-shows at the office, which cost practices a significant amount of money each year. It can also attract new patients while increasing the ease of patient flow throughout the day, both of which will increase revenue.

Plus, with relatively low upfront and overhead costs, healthcare organisations quickly see a return on their telemedicine investment.

Telemedicine provides not only improved convenience and quality of care for patients – it also increases revenue and supports health professionals. As technology continues to advance and insurance companies get on board with coverage, telemedicine will almost certainly continue to expand.

 

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